Investigations by THE STAR have revealed a thriving prostitution ring, in at least four non-traditional schools, with boys acting as pimps for several of the girls from their institutions.
The students, with whom we spoke, proudly declared that while the activity of girls selling themselves was nothing new, the addition of the 'pimps' was a rather fresh idea.
"Yu si di pimp part now, dat a di new way; but a long time some girl a sell demself. Dat a nuh nuttin new," said one student.
The pimps, who are the link between the girls and their clients, are responsible for the collection of fees, the setting up of 'dates', and even for protection. They are said to be making no less than $2,500 or as much as $5,000 per week for their services.
"Yuh see me now, a me tek di attention off a di girl ... Most things a me deal dem fi har .. Me set up har meeting dem. Most time a me collect di money and a me mek sure seh nobody nuh violate," explained *Ringo, a 17-year-old student who admitted to playing the role of a pimp.
When asked how they got clients for such young girls, they all explained that the process was easy.
"Dat a di least man ... It simple. Mi know a likkle man and mi jus' tell him seh mi have a nice girl fi bus him pon and mek dem meet up ... Afta dat, mi mek him kno seh if nuttin fi gwaan, him haffi pay me. As simple as dat," Ringo said.
Another pimp, 18-year-old Damion, explained that the payment received depended on the understanding between the parties involved.
"Di food weh yu get depends pon wha you and di female agree pon ... Inna most case, it depend pon how much she mek fi a week," he explained. He added "Yu see seh a nuh easy work, don't, 'cause if yu waan get all a four grand fi di week, yu haffi mek sure yu set up enough date fi yu girl fi mek a big food weh she can squeeze yu deh amount deh."
While not aware of the situation, Deputy Superintendent Merrick Watson, operations officer at the Community Safety Branch of the Safe Schools Programme, took the opportunity to explain that certain happenings within schools are simply a reflection of the wider society.
"The school remains a micro-image of the wider society, what happens in the society, sad to say, happens in our schools," he said.
While at first he took a tight-lipped stance on the topic, he did go on to say that "students will always find creative ways to do what they want to do."
During our investigations, the students involved told THE STAR they implemented the 'pimp scenario' mainly because of what they describe as "serious times".
"Yu see how serious time get, look how much girl di man dem a kidnap, a really that's how wi start use di boys dem fi handle most a business eno," Keisha, one student prostitute explained.
In explaining herself further, the fourth-form student said; "It kinda tek di eyes off a we to eno, 'cause usually people woulda probably si wi a talk to di man dem and den wi name start call up, suh wi jus mek di boy dem do most a di talking. That way nobody nuh know what a gwaan."
When the THE STAR spoke to the principal of one of the schools where the activity takes place, he explained that while they are aware that students do take part in sexual activities, it would be hard to say that that they are involved in prostitution.
"For us to say that students are taking part in prostitution it would have to be a case that we have investigated and that's hard to do because I've never heard of such activities on the school grounds," one principal said.
He also went on to say that he was not aware the role of some of the schoolboys in the activity.
At least one of the other principals, however, claimed that while he is was not aware of the activity in his school, it was quite possible that it was happening.
"Yes we know that kids have sex, that's no secret. But as it relates to them being prostitutes and pimps, I can't say I have that much knowledge to go so in depth. But to be honest these kids do some crazy stuff, so I don't think that's out of their way," he said.
When THE STAR spoke to Dr. Charlene Ashley, director of communications at the Ministry of Education, she also said that the ministry was unaware of any such activities.
*Names changed on request.